There's an old adage in musical theater -- you can't hum the scenery. Well, the scenery for Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequal to PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is gorgeous (Bob Crowley designs), but the rest of it leaves much to be desired. There are four Lloyd Webber power ballads, built as usual on a repeated phrase that gets louder and louder, sort of like Ravel's Bolero. But the rest of the music is filler. The lyrics -- as usual Lloyd Webber doesn't seem to care what doggerel is sung to his tunes. The orchestrations are lush.
What happens? It's ten years later and the Phantom is an impressario at Coney Island, of all places. He spirits Christine back to sing a concert. The boy with her and Raoul is, it turn's out, the phantom's son. He's blond, which is odd since neither Raoul, Christine nor the Phanton is blond. There's a sinister middle-aged woman lurking about with a blond daughter who performs really awful songs abot romping on the beach. She turns out to be demented, but we don't really know who she is, nor do we care, which poses a problem at the climax.
The cast does its best with this stuff. Summer Strahlen and Joseph Millson -- two fine performers who deserve better than this, play the demented blonde and Raoul. The Phantom and Christine had good voices, but little personality.
But the scenery and special effects -- art nouveau all over the place. Lovely.
But you can't hum the scenery